LIBERIA: WaterAid Provides Update on Activities…”Ebola Response is Key”

By: WASH R&E “Media” Network – Since 2009, WaterAid has been involved in the support of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) projects in poor rural communities in Liberia and of late in Sierra Leone.

The British based charity is also sponsoring Civil Society Organizations in their advocacy programs to ensure that a platform is created where WASH Issues can be discussed, addressed and implemented.

As a WASH oriented & development organization, the charity has been actively involved in Advocacy and Development Programs in Liberia and Sierra Leone, but  due to the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in both countries, the programs were disrupted.

Chuchu K. Selma, WaterAid Acting Team Leader for Liberia and Sierra Leone

Chuchu K. Selma, WaterAid Acting Team Leader for Liberia and Sierra Leone

According to the organization’s Acting Team Leader for Liberia and Sierra Leone, Chuchu K. Selma, the outbreak of the virus caused the organization to adjust its activities and annual Plan.

Mr. Selma informed the WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia that the outbreak caused the charity to close its offices in Liberia and Sierra Leone for a brief period.

He said when the entity’s Offices reopened, it got engaged in activities aimed at combating the Ebola virus in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Mr. Selma said the entity redirected its funding to the National Ebola Response to the outbreak through the provision of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services to poor rural communities.

He also said WaterAid Liberia/Sierra Leone has directed funding to Advocacy and Awareness Activities on the prevention of the Ebola virus in both countries.

He asserted that universal access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation has been the goal of WaterAid.

The Acting WaterAid Team Leader for Liberia and Sierra Leone pointed out that empowering communities, remains cardinal to adopt good hygiene practices that could be embedded into their livelihood to improve health.

Mr. Selma noted that all of these efforts on the part of his organization are been coordinated through partnership with CSOs and Local WASH service providers.

He said due to the intervention of WaterAid in the WASH sector of the country, lots of Liberians now know the importance of Water, Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) services and provision.

“We are working with the Ministry of Health and other international partners in the fight against Ebola”, Mr. Selma said stressed.

The Acting Team Leader also disclosed that WaterAid Liberia/Sierra Leone is also involved in social mobilization on the community level, teaching people about the role of good hygiene practices in the prevention of the Ebola virus.

He further disclosed that his organization will continue to work closely with government in the maintenance of the current Ebola Treatment facilities, ensuring that WASH facilities are kept operational.

Mr. Selma said the organization is working closely with the WASH cluster chaired by the Ministry of Public Works to ensure that basic WASH services are provided in the country.

He noted his organization has funding in house to assist in the maintenance of WASH facilities at ETUs if the request is made.

Mr. Selma also talked about the collaboration of WaterAid in the HIV/Aids program with local partner, Shalon in providing awareness on HIV in the country.

In line with the Ebola response by the entity, the Acting Team Leader revealed the construction of 10 new hand pumps in areas considered vulnerable in line with water, sanitation and hygiene services.

Touching on the issue of the provision of safe drinking water in the country, Mr. Selma said, Liberia has made tremendous progress in creating access to safe drinking water and assured that WaterAid remains committed to its mission to transform lives by improving access to safe water, improved hygiene and sanitation, especially in the world’s poorest communities.